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arms crossed, intense sighs, bad answers…. you know when a customer is getting frustrated. Among others these are the signs experienced by complicated customers
Worse yet, these physical signs show that they are losing interest in what you are saying, and your opportunity to keep your business could quickly disappear.
Often, difficult or even angry customers do not express frustration with you. These emotions are linked to external situations and psychological stimuli. So, put your great communication skills to work, take advantage of your superpower to read the situation, and use these 3 psychological tips to manage difficult clients. (and save your next contract renewal) 🙂
When you’re upset, has anyone ever made you feel better? I didn’t think so. Let’s take the following scenario:
Client: “I’m frustrated because we have a limited budget and you don’t want to offer us a discount.”
Customer Success Manager: “I understand, but…”
You know the conversation upstairs isn’t going to end well.
Instead, practice reflective listening. This approach requires you to understand what the other person is saying by interpreting their words and body language. Then respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings you heard from your client:
Client: “I’m frustrated because we have a limited budget and you don’t want to offer us a discount.
Customer Success Manager: “So, what I’m hearing is that our prices are a barrier to your business. Your budget is tight, and I’m not offering a discount that meets your needs. Is that correct?”
If you’ve properly understood their sentiment, move on. If not, say, “Tell me more, so I can understand better. Never promise to fix the situation, because you may not be able to. Your goal right now is to make your client feel listened to and valued.
Heuristic affection is a mental shortcut. It helps you make quick and efficient decisions based on how you feel about the person, place, or situation you are considering. In short, it is the fact that we all make decisions and judgments based on our worldviews and experiences. It is our prejudice.
In these situations, objective facts carry little weight for us. Instead, we execute the decision or situation through our internal software and develop our own opinions based on what we already know.
If your client keeps asking, “What’s the problem? and delaying the incorporation process with reprogramming and endless due diligence, it may not be useful to say, “You’ve already purchased a year’s subscription to this marketing software. Can we move on?”.
Your customer may have been unknowingly trapped in a one-year contract with a supplier that did not deliver on its promises. Because of that experience, your customer is now seeing you through that lens.
Ask questions to understand the root cause of your apprehension. The following questions can help your client relax and understand why he or she is not willing to move forward:
“I would like to understand. Tell me more about why you are skeptical.
“What can I do to alleviate your fears?”
“How can I help you feel comfortable enough to move on?”
These questions also redirect your mind from thinking that you are not trustworthy to proactively considering what they need to move forward.
The mind of the beginner – also known as the Zen mind – is the strategy of approaching each situation as if you were a beginner. When you adopt this way of thinking, you enter into all conversations with the “I don’t know” mind, which prevents you from prejudging a client or his situation.
It also encourages you to live without “homework”. These are annoying thoughts like:
The client should have known by now that he wouldn’t have a budget until the next quarter.The customer should have read my email about the expiration of his discount.
The customer should not have assumed that he would be available for weekly consultations.
Homework” puts your mind on the defensive and compromises the fluidity of the conversation even before it starts.
Zen mind also means you stop being an expert. Of course, you are an expert in your product/service, and you may be an expert in customer service, but you are not an expert in this customer, your situation, or the conversation you are currently engaged in.
So, instead of saying, “You told me you wanted to increase your incoming lead generation by 20% by the end of this month, and these delays won’t make it possible,” approach each conversation with the beginner’s mind.
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